In a statement released on Tuesday, the Pentagon informed the public of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. military personnel from Germany. The withdrawn troops will be redeployed elsewhere. However, the specifics on where they would be deployed have not been relayed.
CNBC reported Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman’s speech. Hoffman said, “The Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed the President yesterday on plans to redeploy 9,500 troops from Germany. The proposal that was approved not only meets the President’s directive. It will also enhance Russian deterrence, strengthen NATO, reassure Allies, improve U.S. strategic flexibility and U.S. European Command’s operational flexibility, and take care of our service members and their families.”
Hoffman added, “Pentagon leaders look forward to briefing this plan to the congressional defense committees in the coming weeks, followed by consultations with NATO allies on the way forward.”
The withdrawal of 9,500 U.S. service members from Germany caused claims made by the Trump administration to resurface. In the past, the administration alleged that the NATO ally was “delinquent in their payment” to NATO.
In the past, Trump severely reproved NATO counterparts and often threatened to reduce support if allies do not increase their spending. In the summit last year, Trump admonished German Chancellor Angela Merkel for not meeting the 2% of the GDP spending goal in 2014.
In December, Trump said, “So we’re paying 4 to 4.3% hen Germany’s paying 1 to 1.2%, at max 1.2%, of a much smaller GDP. That’s not fair.” NATO figures clarified that the U.S. is paying less than what the President stated, at 3.42% of GDP on defense. Germany now spends 1.38%, an increase of about 11% of their spending in 2018.
The White House officials will not offer details on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany. However, talks of U.S. forces being relocated to Poland have circulated. The idea is reinforced as last week, senior administration officials have discussed Poland President Andrzej Duda’s visit to the White House.
White House National Security Adviser Tobert O’Brien penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the matter. In his op-ed published on June 21, the adviser wrote,” The Cold War practice of garrisoning large numbers of troops with their families on massive bases in places like Germany is now, in part, obsolete. Modern warfare is increasingly expeditionary and requires platforms with extended range, flexibility, and endurance. While airbases and logistics hubs remain important, the Cold War-style garrisoning of troops makes less military and fiscal sense than it did in the 1970s.”
He believes that the 25,000 U.S. troops left in Germany will still show the United States’ “strong commitment” to Germany.
White House officials announced Warsaw’s financial commitments to NATO, including the rough amount of $16 billion in foreign military sales. The financial commitment includes the F-35 Lightning II fighter, the most expensive weapon system owned by the U.S.